Innovative career pathways

Postdoc @ Leuphana

As the place for academic qualification, the Graduate School is the interdisciplinary contact point for all postdocs at Leuphana. The Graduate School bundles relevant topics for postdocs, develops new formats together with other actors and offers interdisciplinary networking and communication, financial support as well as advice and qualification offers. In the latter field of work, the Graduate School focuses on non-scientific careers, while academic personnel development focuses on coaching and advice for academic careers. Other points of contact for postdocs in interdisciplinary qualification are the Research Service, the Equal Opportunities Office with its mentoring programme, the Teaching Service and Leuphana's Cooperation Service.

Postdoc Phases in Germany

In Germany, a distinction is made in the context of career planning between an early and late postdoc phase. The first phase lasts up to two years after the successful doctorate and is also called the orientation phase. In this phase, projects from the doctoral period are often still being completed, the dissertation is published and professional (re)orientation takes place. This initial period is also used to clarify one's own career goals and to apply for postdoctoral positions, fellowships or positions outside the academic system. As part of the strategic planning of an academic career, postdoctoral researchers usually change universities or research institutions during this phase and use the first years after the doctorate to work out their own research profile. Finally, in this phase, postdocs take on tasks in teaching, in the supervision of theses and initial leadership responsibilities.

The transition to the "late" or "advanced postdoc phase" is sometimes fluid and refers to the phase in which postdocs advance and complete their habilitation (or equivalent). Experienced postdocs have their first interviews for a (junior) professorship in this phase.

Postdoc Phases in Germany ©Sandra Wienand/Leuphana
Postdoc Phases in Germany

Postdoc @ Leuphana: first steps

Initiation and Funding

Similar to the initiation of a doctoral project, the focus is on contact with one or more professors at Leuphana to discuss the research project as a postdoc.

If you would like to spend your time as a postdoc at Leuphana, you can find out about currently open positions in research and teaching here.

If you are interested in third-party funded funding opportunities for the postdoc phase, you will find bundled information on calls for proposals from national and international funding bodies in the regularly published newsletter FIT (Informationsdienst Forschung, Internationales, Transfer).

Finally, the major research funding institutions offer various funding programmes for postdocs. A selection of research funding programmes with usually year-round opportunities to apply is summarised below.

GradSchool Newsletter // Doc & Postdocs

A regular update on open postdoctoral fellowships and new workshop formats at Leuphana, on conferences and research stays worldwide and on funding programmes is bundled in the Graduate School Newsletter "GradSchool Notes Docs & Postdocs", which is published about four to five times a year. Subscribe right here!

Qualification Fund

The Graduate School supports postdcos of Leuphana in various research qualification measures within the framework of the faculty and interdisciplinary qualification fund.

If, for example, you would like to attend a conference, plan a short-term research stay or organise a conference yourself, you can apply for financial support throughout the year.


GradSkills – Skills and career development

Leuphana offers a comprehensive range of continuing education courses for developing interdisciplinary skills. These are open to academics at all levels and prepare you for careers within and beyond scientific and academic institutions. The courses available are listed in the GradSkills portal.

Postdoc Appreciation Week

In 2022, the Postdoc Appreciation Week took place in Germany for the first time! Leuphana participated in the action week from 19-23 September with two events especially for postdocs, on the topics of science communication and mental health in the postdoc phase.

The special thing about the PAW: for one week, seminars, workshops and lectures at a large number of German universities, colleges and research institutions are open especially for postdocs throughout Germany. The PAW aims to recognise the (research) achievements of postdocs in Germany and to promote networking opportunities among postdocs.

The next PAW, in which Leuphana Graduate School will participate, will take place in September 2023.

Careers in the public sector and business

Additional qualifications for a career outside university – that is what the "Leadership in Gesellschaft und Wirtschaft" certificate programme is all about.  You can find detailed information on the course content and duration on our certificate programme pages. Please note: this programme is only available in German.

Careers in research and academia

Doctoral students and postdocs seeking careers in research and academia can also contact the Academic Human Resource Development Department. You can find detailed information on the offer of the Academic Human Resource Development Department on the German site of the department.